What is Programmatic Native Advertising?

July 25, 2016 | by Cassidy "Cattie" Yost

For those familiar with the terms “programmatic” and “native,” the concept of “programmatic native” probably sounds counterintuitive at first. After all, the success of native advertising relies on its ability to mirror exactly the form and function of its host publisher, while programmatic refers to automated buying and selling of digital ads However, the merging of automation and customization is achievable, and the benefits of doing so can be huge. Programmatic native advertising applies real-time data to individual ads, ensuring that they are placed on relevant and appropriate sites that will enhance the consumer’s experience.

Thanks to the ability of native advertising to prove its staying power in an environment that has become increasingly hostile towards traditional display ads, spending on native advertising has been projected to reach 53.4 billion by 2020. Overall, native ads are more likely to catch and hold a user’s attention, while building brand awareness and trust. Programmatic ad buying has also had a hand in changing the practices of digital advertising, by managing the buying and selling of digital ads through software rather than human labor.

For some time, native and programmatic remained irreconcilable. Until, in 2015, the IAB published the OpenRTB 2.3 protocol, which made native advertising available to real time bidding. Ads were broken down into their main components (Headline, content description, content URL, image, brand logo, and brand name), allowing a native ad to be easily shaped to match the layout of any site that it may be published on.


Native advertising and programmatic ad buying make a formidable team. In combining the two, programmatic can bring native advertising to a scale that it has never reached before. Due to the challenging nature of providing custom content on a large scale, very few companies have managed to shift entirely into programmatic native. However, as the practice becomes more widely understood, some estimate that programmatic native will soon account for 40-50% of display advertising.

Programmatic provides the opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers at every step of the buyer’s journey with customized, engaging content. The benefits of native advertising have, by now, been well researched and well established, and programmatic ad buying can only increase the reach of those benefits.

This post is about: native advertising, native ads, native ad platforms, native advertising best practices, programmatic advertising, programmatic native advertising, customer experience, customer engagement, consumer journey, story sequencing, content promotion, and content marketing.

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Watch this quick video to see how to best incorporate programmatic native advertising to find and engage new audiences, using your brand’s content:

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To learn more about how programmatic native advertising offers both media buyers and content marketers an exciting new paid media channel to promote and distribute content online, check out Storygize's eBook, Go Native: Effective Content Promotion and Customer Engagement.

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Topics: Native Advertising, Programmatic